SPECIAL EVENT AND FUNDRAISER – Our Land Our Identity: the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

Our Land Our Identity:

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Fight for Survival 

October 10, 2012 6 to 8 pm
Odawa Native Friendship Centre, 12 Stirling Ave. Ottawa Unceded Algonquin Territory

With Michel Thusky (Elder) and Norman Matchewan (Councilor and Youth Spokesperson)

and Music by David and Aurora Finkle and Andy Mason.

A light meal will be shared.

Sliding scale suggested donation $10 – $20

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/109267862562163/

“I am a survivor of a residential school. I don’t want that kind of life experience for my children. I want my grandchildren to have a face and a mouth that they will be proud of, not an empty face. I want them to have an identity. This is what we are fighting for.”
– Michel Thusky (from CounterPunch: Sustainable Colonialism® in the Boreal Forest)

Just a few hours up the Gatineau River from Ottawa is the Algonquin Community of Barriere Lake. Access to the forests lakes and rivers of their territory is a vital to this Algonquin community’s identity and for generations they have fought to protect it from destructive resource projects, while also finding ways to co-exist with Quebec and Canadian society. Though there have been many challenges, the language and traditions in Barriere Lake remain strong.

In 1991 the community signed a landmark and historic agreement with Canada and Quebec that should have created a process for co-management of their territory and modest revenue sharing with the community. As with many other agreements made with Indigenous peoples in Canada, Barriere Lake’s tri-lateral agreement has not been respected.

This summer, Resolute Forest Products, a logging company based in Montreal, has been clear cutting in an environmentally and culturally important area of the Barriere Lake’s territory without consultation and consent of the community. After 3 weeks of protest against the clear-cutting the community is going to court to assert their rights and jurisdiction to protect their land. They are asking for your moral and financial support! It is a difficult situation for the community since they have few financial resources.

“You know, this land is important to us, especially the people who harvest off this territory. Because right now they’re destroying a huge moose habitat, bear dens, sacred sites. They don’t care about the stuff that is out there, our medicine. And when the land is destroyed, we’re destroyed.
– Norman Matchewan (from Dominon Paper Issue #84: September/October 2012)

For background information about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2008/03/resources.html and https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/barriere-lake-posts/.

SPONSORED BY: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement of Ottawa, MiningWatch Canada and the Friends Service Committee of Ottawa.

More info contact Ramsey Hart, ramsey@miningwatch.ca / 613-298-4745.

 

Barriere Lake Algonquin affirm opposition to mine during Montreal company meeting: threat of mining on their land exposes failure of Quebec’s Mining Act

[français ci-dessous]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 20, 2011

Barriere Lake Algonquin affirm opposition to mine during Montreal company meeting: threat of mining on their land exposes failure of Quebec’s Mining Act

Montreal /– Today, community members from the Algonquin First Nation of Barriere Lake traveled to Montreal to attend the annual general meeting of Val-D’Or-based Cartier Resources Inc., where they affirmed that the overwhelming majority of their First Nation is opposed to the company’s Rivière Doré copper mining project moving forward on their traditional territory. A solidarity demonstration will happen outside of the shareholders meeting at 11:30 am at Dorchester Square, the corner of Peel and Rene-Levesque.

“The Charest government’s planned amendments to Quebec’s Mining Act do nothing to address the basic human rights violation at its core: the fact that no communities, including First Nations, have the right to give their free, prior and informed consent to a mining project,” said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson for Barriere Lake.

The right to free, prior and informed consent to any development is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which has been endorsed by the Canadian government.

In March, Barriere Lake community members discovered copper exploration activities on their traditional territory, south-east of Val D’Or, Quebec. The land has never been ceded by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, who hold constitutionally-protected Aboriginal title and rights at the site of the potential mine.

The land is also already covered by an agreement signed between Quebec and Canada and the First Nation in 1991. This Trilateral Agreement – a sustainable development plan for 10,000 square kilometres of Barriere Lake’s traditional territory – has been praised by the United Nations, but both Quebec and Canada have refused to implement it.

The Elders Council of Barriere Lake issued a letter to the Quebec Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife on May 2 declaring that the community will not allow any resource extraction like mining on their traditional territory until the Trilateral Agreement is implemented.

“Charest’s claim that the Mining Act amendments fit the ‘principles of sustainable development’ is totally hollow,” said Matchewan.”If the Quebec government were concerned about sustainable development, they would not allow a mining company to explore and open a mine against the wishes of a community, to engage in activities that will have negative impacts on the land, water, animals and plants that we depend on. We will not allow this mine to be built.”

The mineral exploration activities have currently stopped, after community members went to the potential mine site to request that the workers leave. The workers respected the community’s wishes.

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Media contacts:

Norm Matchewan, community spokesperson: 514-578-7109

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Vendredi le 20 mai 2011

La communauté algonquine du Lac Barrière s’oppose à un projet minier lors d’une réunion de cette compagnie à Montréal : la menace minière sur leurs terres expose l’échec de la Loi sur les mines québécoise.

Montréal/ – Aujourd’hui, des membres de la communauté autochtone algonquine du Lac Barrière se déplacent à Montréal afin de prendre part à l’assemblée générale annuelle de Cartier Resources Inc., où ils veulent exprimer l’opposition, par la grande majorité de leur communauté, au projet Rivière Doré, projet d’exploration puis d’exploitation possible de cuivre, sur leur territoire ancestral. Une manifestation de solidarité aura lieu au Carré Dorchester, au coin de Peel et René-Lévesque pendant la réunion des actionnaires de Cartier Resources Inc.

« Le gouvernement Charest planifie des amendements à la Loi sur les mines qui ne changeront en rien la violation des droits humains de base au cœur de cette loi : le fait qu’aucune communauté, incluant les Premières Nations, n’ait le droit de donner leur libre consentement préalable et éclairé à un projet» dit Norman Matchewan, a porte-parole de la communauté du Lac Barrière.

Le droit du libre consentement préalable et éclairé à tout projet de développement est au cœur de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones, qui a été avalisée par le gouvernement du Canada.

En mars, les membres de la communauté du Lac Barrière se sont rendus compte que des activités d’exploration de cuivre avaient lieu sur leur territoire ancestral, au sud-est de Val D’Or. Cette terre n’a jamais été cédée par les Algonquins du Lac Barrière, qui possèdent le titre aborigène, protégé par la Constitution, du site minier potentiel.

Cette terre fait aussi l’objet d’une entente tripartite signée par la communauté et les gouvernements du Québec et du Canada en 1991. Cette Entente trilatérale – un plan de développement durable couvrant les 10 000 km carrés du territoire ancestral du Lac Barrière – a été louangée par les Nations Unies. Toutefois, tant les gouvernements canadien que québécois ont refusé de la mettre en application.

Le conseil des Aînés du Lac Barrières ont écrit une lettre au Ministre des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune du Québec le 2 mai déclarant que la communauté n’autoriserait aucune exploitation de ressources telle qu’un projet minier sur leur territoire ancestral tant et aussi longtemps que l’Entente trilatérale ne sera pas mise en application.

« L’affirmation de Charest, selon laquelle les amendements à la Loi sur les minutes suivent les ‘principes du développement durable’ est complètement fausse, » dit Matchewan. « Si le gouvernement du Québec était préoccupé par le développement durable, il ne permettrait pas à une compagnie minière d’explorer et d’ouvrir une mine contre la volonté d’une communauté, de se livrer à des activités qui auront un impact négatif sur la terre, l’eau, les animaux et les plantes dont nous dépendons. Nous ne permettrons pas la construction de cette mine. »

Les activités d’exploration minière sont présentement suspendues : les membres de la communauté ont demandé aux employés de quitter le site minier potentiel. Ceux-ci ont respecté la volonté de la communauté.

La manifestation de solidarité se rendra aussi en bas des bureaux de Windermere Capital et de la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, deux investisseurs importants de Cartier Resources Inc, afin d’encourager le désinvestissement du projet minier.

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Contact pour les médias:

Norm Matchewan, porte-parole de la communauté: 514-578-7109

www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com